light and quick, as a step or pace.
proceeding with a light, easy movement or rhythm.

Origin of tripping

First recorded in 1555–65; trip1 + -ing2
Related formstrip·ping·ly, adverbun·trip·ping, adjective




a journey or voyage: to win a trip to Paris.
a journey, voyage, or run made by a boat, train, bus, or the like, between two points: It's a short trip from Baltimore to Philadelphia.
a single journey or course of travel taken as part of one's duty, work, etc.: his daily trip to the bank.
a stumble; misstep.
a sudden impeding or catching of a person's foot so as to throw the person down, especially in wrestling.
a slip, mistake, error, or blunder.
an error or lapse in conduct or etiquette.
a light, nimble step or movement of the feet.
  1. a projecting object mounted on a moving part for striking a control lever to stop, reverse, or otherwise control the actions of some machine, as a milling machine or printing press.
  2. a sudden release or start.
a catch of fish taken by a fishing vessel in a single voyage.
  1. an instance or period of being under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug, especially LSD.
  2. the euphoria, illusions, etc., experienced during such a period.
  3. any stimulating or exciting experience: The class reunion was a real trip.
  4. any intense interest or preoccupation: She's been on a nostalgia trip all week.
  5. a period of time, experience, or lifestyle: Those early years in college were a bad trip.

verb (used without object), tripped, trip·ping.

to stumble: to trip over a child's toy.
to make a slip, error, or mistake, as in conversation or conduct.
to step lightly or nimbly; skip; dance.
to go with a light, quick step or tread: She tripped gaily across the room.
to make a journey or excursion.
to tip or tilt.
Horology. (of a tooth on an escape wheel) to slide past the face of the pallet by which it is supposed to be locked and strike the pallet in such a way as to move the balance or pendulum improperly.
Slang. to be under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug, especially LSD (often followed by out): He tripped out on peyote.

verb (used with object), tripped, trip·ping.

to cause to stumble (often followed by up): The rug tripped him up.
to cause to fail; hinder, obstruct, or overthrow.
to cause to make a slip or error (often followed by up): to trip up a witness by skillful questioning.
to catch in a slip or error.
to tip or tilt.
  1. to break out (an anchor) by turning over or lifting from the bottom by a line (tripping line) attached to the anchor's crown.
  2. to tip or turn (a yard) from a horizontal to a vertical position.
  3. to lift (an upper mast) before lowering.
to operate, start, or set free (a mechanism, weight, etc.) by suddenly releasing a catch, clutch, or the like.
Machinery. to release or operate suddenly (a catch, clutch, etc.).
to tread or dance lightly upon (the ground, floor, etc.).
Archaic. to perform with a light or tripping step, as a dance.

Origin of trip

1350–1400; 1960–65 for def 12; Middle English trippen to step lightly < Old French trip(p)er < Middle Dutch; compare early Dutch trippen, Dutch trippelen (frequentative with -el), akin to Old English treppan to tread
Related formsun·tripped, adjective

Synonyms for trip

1. excursion, tour, jaunt, junket. Trip, expedition, journey, pilgrimage, voyage are terms for a course of travel made to a particular place, usually for some specific purpose. Trip is the general word, indicating going any distance and returning, by walking or any means of locomotion, for either business or pleasure, and in either a hurried or a leisurely manner: a trip to Europe; a vacation trip; a bus trip. An expedition, made often by an organized company, is designed to accomplish a specific purpose: an archaeological expedition. Journey indicates a trip of considerable length, wholly or mainly by land, for business or pleasure or other reasons, and is now applied to travel that is more leisurely or more fatiguing than a trip; a return is not necessarily indicated: the long journey to Tibet. A pilgrimage is made as to a shrine, from motives of piety or veneration: a pilgrimage to Lourdes. A voyage is travel by water or air, usually for a long distance and for business or pleasure; if by water, leisure is indicated: a voyage around the world. 7. lapse, oversight. 14. bungle, blunder, err. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tripping

Contemporary Examples of tripping

Historical Examples of tripping

  • Yes, there was Miss Lucindy, tripping happily across the level field.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • But he burst out again, tripping over words in his excitement.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • He is so superior a person that to catch him tripping is a peculiar pleasure.

    Views and Reviews

    William Ernest Henley

  • She had tripping steps and dainty kicks that went well with the melody.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • I asked, tripping up a clerk who was flying through the hallway.

British Dictionary definitions for tripping



an outward and return journey, often for a specific purpose
any tour, journey, or voyage
a false step; stumble
any slip or blunder
a light step or tread
a manoeuvre or device to cause someone to trip
Also called: tripper
  1. any catch on a mechanism that acts as a switch
  2. (as modifier)trip button
a surge in the conditions of a chemical or other automatic process resulting in an instability
informal a hallucinogenic drug experience
informal any stimulating, profound, etc, experience

verb trips, tripping or tripped

(often foll by up, or when intr, by on or over) to stumble or cause to stumble
to make or cause to make a mistake or blunder
(tr often foll by up) to trap or catch in a mistake
(intr) to go on a short tour or journey
(intr) to move or tread lightly
(intr) informal to experience the effects of LSD or any other hallucinogenic drug
  1. to activate (a mechanical trip)
  2. trip a switchto switch electric power off by moving the switch armature to disconnect the supply
See also trip out
Derived Formstrippingly, adverb

Word Origin for trip

C14: from Old French triper to tread, of Germanic origin; related to Low German trippen to stamp, Middle Dutch trippen to walk trippingly, trepelen to trample
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tripping



late 14c. (implied in tripper), "tread or step lightly, skip, caper," from Old French tripper "strike with the feet" (12c.), from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch trippen "to skip, trip, hop," Low German trippeln, Frisian tripje, Dutch trappen, Old English treppan "to tread, trample") related to trap.

The sense of "strike with the foot and cause to stumble" is first recorded early 15c. Meaning "to release" (a catch, lever, etc.) is recorded from 1897; trip-wire is attested from 1916. Related: Tripped; tripping.



"act or action of tripping," 1650s, from trip (v.); sense of "a short journey or voyage" is from 1690s, originally a nautical term, the connection is uncertain. The meaning "psychedelic drug experience" is first recorded 1959 as a noun; the verb in this sense is from 1966, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tripping


In addition to the idioms beginning with trip

  • triple threat
  • trip the light fantastic
  • trip up

also see:

  • bad trip
  • ego trip
  • round trip
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.